I mentioned briefly in a previous blog post that Pat Zalewski wrote his latest Golden Dawn book, Alchemy and the Golden Dawn, for a single student. (Maybe "student" is the wrong term, maybe "friend" would be a better label---I am just not sure.) Then I got mail. It happens.
Yes, Zalewski wrote his alchemy book with a single student in mind. It is not just marketing hype. There is actually a student out there who was responsible for this book being written. A single student.
Hathoor Temple had a saying that even a Neophyte could function as a Secret Chief. I think that aphorism is related to my father theory that all it takes is one "bad" neighbor to start mowing their lawn and putting in a flower beds to get an entire neighborhood to fix itself up. Or maybe not.
All I know is that I have seen changes in the esoteric community before that could be traced back to a single member of the community.
Should we thank this student or condemn them? I am not sure. Time will tell.
So why hasn't this student weighed in with their opinion of the book? (Really?! I am surprised that someone asked this question.) It is the height of brilliance that this student has kept their mouth shut about their involvement. If it was you, would you admit to it?
I know that there are people just dying to know who this person is---just so that they can use this person's inexperience against them. You know that they are going to get a mailbox full of invites from groups and teachers worse than Pat's once their identity is figured out. "Gee, if you needed Pat's book, then my group is just perfect for you also."
Besides, one of the facts that is oath bound is the identity of the tradition's membership. If this person does not want to admit that they were involved, they do not have to. Even when you are a known member of the tradition, you do not have to tell all about your memberships. Personally, there are a couple of groups that I held memberships in that I would never publically admit to---though in all fairness, the groups would prefer me not to mention being a member either.
And yes, I actually know the student in question. It is a small tradition.
And no, I am not responsible for guiding this person to better teachers, friends and groups. They are free to associate with whoever they want to. Just like they are free to read whatever they want to. It is their time, energy and money; they can spend it however they want to.
They are a lone nut in the big bowl of mixed nuts that is the Golden Dawn community.
Now that I have answered my mail about this, I still have one more comment to make.
David Griffin mentioned in a comment to the blog post in question that he wished that Pat would have just gave this person the manuscript and left it unpublished. But let's be honest, David. No one forced you to read the book; you could have saved your money and time. Other people have reviewed the book without reading it---you could have done the same.
And seriously, I am not sure that it is your duty to protect the whole Golden Dawn tradition. People get exactly the type of instruction that they are ready for. It is part of being human. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "It is all a matter of life experience." Sometimes people need to experience certain teachings and people, so that they can grow.
Putrefaction is an ugly, smelly, disgusting process. But it is necessary. Trying to avoid it, just slows down the acquistion of...well, the important stuff. Take for instance, my compost pile. It is ugly, it is smelly (sometimes), and there are bugs, worms and noisy birds that fed there. I am sure that my neighbors are not fond of my compost pile. Yet I need to have it if I ever hope to restore the soil of my garden without having to use expensive (and ultimately toxic) fertilizer every year.
Pat Zalewski's book serves a purpose. Eventually, its readers will move onto a better understanding of alchemy; it is a necessary way-station in their alchemical understanding. Trust the process, and take comfort in the fact that people get exactly the type of teachers they need to match their level of development. Embrace the putrefaction.